The Most Obvious and Important Realities

In a 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, author David Foster Wallace shared with students his take on the Truth with a capital "T" and the real value of a Liberal Arts education.

The most obvious and important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

The Glossary captured a little over nine minutes of that speech in this video, which starts with the statement above explaining why "this is water". The context of day in/day out makes our internal dialogue win over the present awareness. It papers over the fact that we have a choice.

It does take will and effort, however we can choose how to think and what to pay attention to, developing awareness and exercising discipline over our natural default setting. We know what this setting is about… it's all about "me".

Developing this awareness is useful in life. It is also useful in business, especially in customer-facing roles. The ability to switch sides, empathy, is a key ingredient to developing compelling experience for others.

Changing our default setting opens up all kinds of possibilities from keeping business promises to making true connections.

For five minutes over coffee, or five hours over a public event, the value of being with each other should not be underestimated. We are social beings.


[hat tip Faris Yakob]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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